Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney’s daughter and one of his inspirations for building the Disneyland theme park, has died at her Northern California home. She was 79, according to the Washington Post.
Disney Miller was the eldest daughter to Walt and Lillian and she was also their only full blood child. She was born on December 18th 1933 and is still alive to this day. She grew up and married a man by the name of Ronald William Miller. Diane and Ronald had 7 children, according to the Disney Characters.
Her death Tuesday was confirmed by The Walt Disney Co. The cause was complications from a fall, said Andi Wang, spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Family Museum, according to USA Today.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Diane Disney Miller and our thoughts are with her family during his difficult time,” Disney President and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “As the beloved daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for creating Disneyland, she holds a special place in the history of The Walt Disney Company and in the hearts of fans everywhere. She will be remembered for her grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father’s legacy, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her,” according to ABC News.
Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney’s eldest daughter, had previously shunned the limelight along with other women in the family. “We were just three women, my mother, my sister and me,” she said in a 2003 Los Angeles Times interview. “Housewives, if you will,” according to the L.A. Times.
Disney Miller was instrumental in pushing ahead with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The project was initiated with a $50 million gift from Lillian Disney, but got bogged down in wrangling over costs. Miller ensured the original design by Frank Gehry went ahead, and Walt Disney Hall finally opened in 2004, according to Wikipedia.
Disney Miller read her father’s original dedication fifty years later to the day at the birthday celebrations of Disneyland on July 17, 2005. Miller organized the development of The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco. The museum opened in October, 2009.
Diane Disney Miller wrote the foreword to the book Walt Before Mickey by Timothy Susanin. The book covers the early years of Walt Disney’s career.
Animation historian Michael Barrier reports that Miller, in August 2007, sent a fax to a number of executives at the Walt Disney Company, denouncing Neal Gabler’s biography of Walt Disney published in 2006, titled Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, as “a monstrous piece of libelous junk. My parents were not the people he creates in this book, and I cannot understand why all of you who aided and abetted Gabler in writing this book, and who praise it and promote it, can do so without suffering serious qualms.”